Fairphone 1 maintenance comes to an end

(“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” - Samuel Beckett)

It seems to me the Fairphone 2 is at least the better fail already, and perhaps the hardware problems and parts availability can get sorted out, which could turn it into a real success in the long term.
Fairphone learned from the Fairphone 1 to create and support the Fairphone 2. They will learn from the Fairphone 2 to create and support the Fairphone 3.

All you Fairphone 1 buyers out there made it possible for me to have a Fairphone 2. I can understand the frustration about this announcement now and I know this doesn’t help you at all, but I’m really thankful for you for buying the Fairphone 1.

Early adopters almost always have it rough. It is the same with Fairphone, they couldn’t and can’t do magic afterall. I hope they keep trying though.


Must be pretty flattering for a startup as Fairphone (then 4 people, now 50 or so) to be compared to Samsung and Apple all the time.

If I read all the hopes and dreams people projected on the first phone of a company that didn’t exist 5 years ago… No wonder you are disappointed…

By the way I give my FP1 battery to the first person who points me to some official Fairphone communications in which they say that the FP1 was built to last and that people will be able to use it for more then 3 years guaranteed.

Don’t confuse the future goals of the project with the current capabilities of the phone.


I don’t think I was asking for magic. When I bought their product I trusted that they know what they are talking about.

And if they didn’t, and they find out after a while that they were making promises that they couldn’t keep, they should be transparent about it, instead of trying to placate the users by making promise after promise after promise which again would end in disappointment.

That it is quite difficult to get producers for spare parts for such a rare device couldn’t have come as a surprise to them. Didn’t they investigate before putting the promises out? It is not like all manufacturers had joined a conspiracy to embarrass fairphone, but they have just done what they always do. They didn’t suddenly change their politics when fairpone came along, or did they? Also, that when you choose a mediatek motherboard, it is going to be very difficult to support newer Android versions also couldn’t have come as a surprise. Mediatek was known not to be open source friendly in the first place. And yes, this fatal design flaw which make the USB jack come loose after a year of úse or so was such an obvious and quite fatal design flaw that the least I would explectd from them would be to be transparent about that they screwed this one up. Else, how am I going to trust them for the future? (And there are those other aspects, where they were not fully transparent: That the workers didn’t receive living wages for instance was a fact that I did not find on their website but through news articles only


Of course, they didn’t. They haven’t build a smartphone before.

The whole point of the Fairphone project is to find out and communicate to the world what it takes to build a fair phone. I am very grateful that with Fairphone I actually get to know where and how the product is made. I don’t know any other manufacturer that provides that much insight.

And to those who are disappointed, remember: when I got my Fairphone 1, a postcard reading “Failphone” was included. So we all knew.


I know there was no Beta release. I don’t know, however, whether there is just no Beta or whether there is a Beta which was just not released. Which one’s correct?

Why on Earth should they hold back a release? I bet you haven’t read the news from 13th June, this year:


Wait a minute - Fairphone has bought (not cheap, I guess) the rights from Mediatek so they could start and develop an update on their own. That is cancelled now. But they could release all they have developed so far under an Open Source License, couldn’t they? There are skilled and enthusiastic programmers in the community.

Would be a pity to waste a year of work!

I don’t know why they should do it and I don’t know, whether they are doing it. I hoped someone could tell me. But anyway, why do they call it a beta section when there is no beta?

@arnd that’s been answered by @Douwe above.

@nikos I can tell you that @jftr wanted to release a new build as soon as it was working. Unfortunately that new build never succeeded.

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OK, thank you, Stefan

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My mother tongue isn’t English - I have problems to find my words to express my very big disappointment and yes - a large anger ! No, it’s unbelievable. After all the promises about the Android upgrade now the end.

Not even a special FP2 offer for FP1 customers? Serious?

As a customer of FP1 first edition the project “Fairphone” is cancelled in my conversation - I will never tell my friends about it. When FP1 dies I will buy a non-fair cheap phone and custom ROM.

The End.

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"Please let us know what the Fairphone 1 means to you and any questions about the Fairphone 1 that you maybe are left with."
FP1 for me means big disappointment and broken promises (I sold my FP last august to a friend when we were told 4.4 would be available in september https://www.fairphone.com/de/2016/06/30/fairphone-1-upgrade-to-android-kitkat-4-4-coming-soon/ - and look at your text about software longevity https://www.fairphone.com/de/2014/12/09/our-approach-to-software-and-ongoing-support-for-the-first-fairphones/).
And fairphone as company has disappointed me regarding communication.
Not only for the FP1 story but also for the FP2 (which I bought last august).
I understand: fairphone is a new and small company. So there will be problems and errors. BUT: the only way to keep your customers is open and honest communication. And communicate with them not just tell them after months of silence. Maybe enough FP1 owners are willing to pay a support fee for longer software support? You never asked.
Regarding the FP2 this could mean inform immediately about issues like: yes, we have problems with the cover - we will need some time to construct a better one which maybe will need a small amount of replacement fee. Or: yes, we have quality issues with other parts (display …) and needed more replacement parts as estimated, so there is a delay. And yes, the battery is not lasting that long we will try at least to have enough spare parts.
If you want back the trust of your customers - change your communication.
(Even your text today is not correct: as we now know the software support ended with 1.8.7 in August 2015 less than 2 years after the launch of FP1! You just doubled this time to three and a half…)


Open source the OS and crowd-fund a release

Fairphone should not give up and shut down FP1 development.

Here! Me! Challenge accepted, I desperately need a FP1 battery!

Of course they didn’t guarantee that the FP1 would work for more than 3 years, no company does that. And they didn’t claim that it was build to last period, but that it was build to last longER. It was Fairphone who implied the comparison to all the other companies - the whole success strategy of Fairphone (and other sustainable products) is based on being compared to the available options on the market (ergo Apple & Co) and then to stand out by unique - sustainable - features that make them worth the extra costs (price, time, etc.). And Fairphone did claim longevity as one of those features.

Now the problem, I think, is whether we consider a life-span of up to 3 years to be longer than the one of other phones available on the market back then. And in my experience, sadly, it is not. With reasonable care, the hardware of phones by other companies can last as long or longer. And the FP1 could too! Many users are posting that their phones work fine, they just need a new battery or display. I’m certain our FP1s could live for other 2 years if we had the spare parts. So to me, this actually feels as if Fairphone is forcibly killing off the FP1 before its time (not very sustainable…) but that is just my low-tech perception.

The recent official communications tie longevity only to the FP2 but back in 2015, they were still putting FP1 and longevity in one sentence. On the Fairphone Blog, there is a whole category dedicated to long-lasting design which includes several posts about the FP1 (mainly dedicated to software longevity, though).

The first thing I found was this post from 2015 about giving the FP1 long-term support. They literally write in the end “While we’re still in the exploratory phases along these tracks, we do hope it’s clear that we’re committed to supporting our Fairphone 1 owners in the future. Thanks for sticking with us on this path to improve our phone’s longevity.”

It’s now less than 2 years after that post and they just abandon us. I feel very disappointed as I was aiming for a life-span of around 5 years (because I’m low tech and I can live with some shortcomings) BUT I do understand that perceptions about time are relative and subjective. For the Fairphone team and others, 3 years may actually feel like a longer life span and thus the promise would be fulfilled. Tough choice for Fairphone, I get why it’s necessary but it still sux for us early fighters.

P.S.: I brought the FP1 to Peru, was mocked there for 3 years for having a phone that had so many problems and had cost so much, but I always defended my beloved phone and the idea behind it. Namely because of the longevity. Now I lost my battery and despite my phone working just fine, and I’m told by the company to buy a new one. Déjà vue. So pleeeeease help me extend my FP1’s life and sell me your battery! :blush:


Aww :worried: I’m sad and disappointed… Not mad.

You haven’t lost me as a strong supporter of Fairphone’s efforts to make a more ethical and sustainable phone. I’ve followed the story of what you guys have been doing for years now, and I’m still convinced that it’s a tough but worthwhile fight to try and make radical changes to the supply chain of the smartphone. It’s so important to take more responsibility for the people that are involved in making all the different materials & components of a phone. I can see that the company has to make some tough decisions now in order to survive - and I feel for you, because it must really suck to disappoint your users like this. But if it saves the movement you started… I ultimately get it.

That said, I may have lost my faith in this specific phone - the Fairphone 1. At the 3-year anniversary I said on the forum that I was hoping to make the phone last for another two years, but that’s probably not realistic… As more and more apps drop their support for this version of Android it will be hard to continue to use the phone the way I want. And at that point, I’m not sure whether I’m going to buy a new FP2 or a second-hand/refurbished phone. Maybe a second-hand FP2 would be ideal :wink:

Finally, I don’t really know a lot about the technical details of the phone and its software. I wonder whether it is safer to use the un-official version of Android 4.4 that is out there now (if I can figure out how to install that - no idea how complicated that would be), or to continue to use Android 4.2.2?


That is indeed a pity. I think this is probably a risk that I was aware of when I decided to buy a FP in 2014. I mean, this is quite a complicated project and there was a big chance that something like this would happen along the route. I still think it was a worthy investment in a good cause.

However, I already gave up on my FP earlier this year. I started having a lot of apps I couldn’t install, not because the hardware couldn’t support it, but because they required a higher version of Android. (Mostly apps like transport or messaging apps, not games or such). Then came the issue that my cover started to disintegrate and it was impossible to get the 3d files for the covers to have them printed. When I tried to get a solution to that, I didn’t get a satisfactory reply from the support. Then the phone also became very slow to navigate and use, which usually doesn’t bothers me too much, but as my wife had an old phone lying around, the temptation to switch to that one was just too big compared to the sum of inconviences that the FP has become.

Overall I expect more than that 2.5 years run our of a phone. I used my old phone (a HTC magic, if anyone is interested) for 5 years before switching to the FP, and was hoping to use that as a benchmark for my next phone. The current phone I’m using is now just over 2 years old (LG G4) and comparing this with how the FP performed at around this time last year, it is also probably going to last longer than the FP. There’s also the fact that the communication wasn’t always good (see the link for the 3d printed cover above, or also the mess-up with the order numbers when it was first delivered). Of course neither HTC nor LG would give me any kind of personal service, but just due to the fact that they are much bigger, it is easier to get a fix for problems and there’s just more information out there. (For my HTC, I could just order replacement batteries and even a replacement shell off e-bay and when the software became so old it couldn’t support any newer apps any more, it was easy to get a CyanogenMod with a newer version. For the LG, as the motherboard failed last year, I just had to head down to the local repair centre and they fixed it for free, whereas FP doesn’t even ship repairs outside Europe if you pay them for it).

So I’d say from an environmental point of view, this was definitely a bit of a fail for me. It is probably still worth it from an ethical sustainability point of view, with regard to the sourcing of materials. If I had known it would only last so long, I wouldn’t have bought it and probably won’t buy another version of it in the near future. I will probably opt for second hand phones in the future. But given that nobody could really know how it would go from the start, I don’t regret supporting this project. I still think it’s a very worthwile initiative and I hope that the company can learn from this and will be able to improve the durability of future releases.

All the best


No, the right to use is not the same as the right to release. You can buy the sheet music of a proprietary song and are allowed to play the song on your instrument, but you are not allowed to sell copies of the sheet music.

Fairphone never promised anything!

They always just expressed their hopes for things they plan to achieve.

They didn’t have to. I’m sure they went through that scenario and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t reasonable. They probably also saw that there was a discussion about this on the forum.

You can only change the license of something you own.

Fairphone tried very intensely to find sustainable ways to produce more spare parts, but that just won’t happen. The quantities they’d need can’t be produced at a reasonable price.

I think they have proven their commitment by doing their best to try to get new spare parts and a software update. And they do still support FP1 users wherever they can. They can’t offer some spare parts anymore (if you’re lucky you’ll find them in the #market) or fix software issues with an update, but with every other issue you can still write to support and get help.

Fairphone never said that. They still want you to keep your phone as long as you can and will help you every way they can.


Thanks for proving that indeed they never said the FP1 was made to last.

The challenge for the FP1 battery goes on.

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@Martin_Anderseck I will wait for an answer from Fairphone. Experimenting with external solutions does not seem optimal at all. We are quite a lot of people who are interested in a battery solution and probably also would pay a minor supplementing amount for that.

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Only to this point: [quote=“paulakreuzer, post:58, topic:30482”]

[quote=“douwe, post:1, topic:30482”]
our Fairphone 1 owners will get early access to a limited supply of the refurbished Fairphone 2 planned for delivery in August.

I never got any information about that. We are mid Juli 2017. Some weeks ago I wrote to support about a special offer - they told me that there is no offer.